Change Service or Inventory Item Types in QuickBooks

 Managing item types in QuickBooks is critical to maintaining accurate and reflective financial records for businesses. Whether prompted by changes in business models, evolving tax regulations, or the need to adapt to market trends, the ability to modify item types is a valuable feature. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the process of changing service or inventory item types in QuickBooks.

Companies often need to reevaluate and adapt their product or service offerings in the dynamic business operations landscape. Understanding the reasons behind such changes and effectively implementing modifications to item types is essential for preserving the integrity of financial data. This guide will explore the step-by-step process of transitioning between service and inventory item types, emphasizing considerations that businesses should consider before making these changes. From the initial review of financial statements to testing transactions and communicating organizational changes, each step plays a vital role in ensuring a smooth and accurate transition. Through careful planning and adherence to best practices, businesses can leverage QuickBooks’ flexibility to align their financial records with the evolving nature of their operations.

Understanding Service and Inventory Items

Before delving into the process of changing item types, it’s crucial to understand the distinction between service and inventory items in QuickBooks.

  • Service Items:
    • Definition: Service items are intangible items that you provide to your customers.
    • Examples: Consulting fees, design services, or legal advice.
  • Inventory Items:
    • Definition: Inventory items are tangible goods your business buys, sells, or uses to manufacture products.
  • Examples:Physical products like electronics, clothing, or raw materials.

Reasons for Changing Item Types

 Changing item types in QuickBooks may be necessary for several reasons, reflecting the dynamic nature of business operations and accounting requirements. Here are some common reasons for making such changes:

  • Evolution of Business Model:
    • As businesses grow and evolve, their products or services may change. For instance, a company initially offering only services may expand to sell physical products, requiring a shift from service to inventory item types.
  • Introduction of Inventory Tracking:
    • When a business initially sets up its accounting system, it might choose not to track inventory. However, if the business later decides to monitor and manage inventory levels for specific items, transitioning from service to inventory item types becomes necessary.
  • Compliance with Tax Regulations:
    • Changes in tax regulations or reporting requirements may prompt adjustments in the categorization of items. For example, a tax law update might affect how specific products or services are treated for tax purposes, necessitating a change in item types.
  • Streamlining Processes:
    • Businesses may reevaluate their processes and find opportunities to streamline operations. In such cases, adjusting item types can align the accounting system with new workflows and improve overall efficiency.
  • Product or Service Diversification:
    • A business might diversify its offerings, adding new products or services to its portfolio. This expansion may require the reclassification of items to accurately reflect the nature of each offering.
  • Error Correction:
    • Sometimes, items may have been initially set up with the wrong type due to human error. Correcting these mistakes is crucial for maintaining accurate financial records.
  • Costing Method Changes:
    • Changes in inventory costing methods, such as transitioning from average cost to specific identification, may necessitate adjustments in the item types to ensure proper accounting treatment.
  • Market Demand and Trends:
    • Shifts in market demand or industry trends may influence the types of products or services a business provides. Adapting to these changes may involve reclassifying items to align with market dynamics.

In summary, the flexibility to change item types in QuickBooks allows businesses to adapt to various circumstances, ensuring that their financial records accurately mirror the nature of their transactions and operations.

Essential Considerations Before Making Changes

 Before changing item types in QuickBooks, it’s crucial to consider several important factors to ensure a smooth transition and accurate financial reporting. 

  1. Backup Your Data:
  • Before initiating any changes, create a comprehensive backup of your QuickBooks company file. This precautionary step provides a safety net in case any issues arise during or after the modification process.
  1. Review Financial Statements:
  • Thoroughly review your financial statements and reports that might be affected by the changes. Identify how modifications to item types could impact your balance sheet, income statement, and other financial documents.
  1. Inventory Valuation Method:
  • Changing items from service to inventory (or vice versa) may impact your inventory valuation method. Different valuation methods, such as FIFO (First In, First Out) or average cost, can have varying financial implications. Ensure the chosen valuation method aligns with your business’s accounting practices and goals.
  1. Consider Historical Data:
  • Evaluate how the changes will affect historical data and reporting. Ensure that the modifications won’t distort past financial records or impact the accuracy of comparative financial analyses.
  1. Communicate Changes:
  • If your business involves multiple users or departments, communicate the upcoming changes. Inform relevant stakeholders, such as accounting staff, about the modifications to prevent confusion and ensure a smooth transition.
  1. Testing Transactions:
  • Create test transactions to simulate the impact of the item type changes. This allows you to identify and address any issues before implementing the modifications in a live environment. Testing helps uncover potential problems with calculations, account associations, or reporting.
  1. Adjust Inventory Quantities:
  • If you’re changing items from services to inventory, or vice versa, and inventory tracking is involved, adjust inventory quantities accordingly. Ensure that the transition is consistent with your inventory records.
  1. Document Changes:
  • Maintain documentation of the changes made, including the reasons for the modifications, the date of implementation, and any adjustments made to inventory quantities or financial accounts. This documentation can be valuable for auditing purposes and future reference.
  1. Monitor for Issues:
  • After making the changes, closely monitor your financial records and reports for a reasonable period. Look for anomalies, discrepancies, or unexpected outcomes that might have resulted from the item type modifications.
  1. Consult with Experts:
  • If you have concerns or the changes involve complex accounting scenarios, consider consulting with accounting professionals or QuickBooks experts. Their expertise can provide valuable insights and help you navigate potential challenges.

By considering these considerations, businesses can minimize the risks associated with changing item types in QuickBooks and ensure the integrity of their financial records. Thorough planning and attention to detail are critical to a successful transition.

Steps to Change Service or Inventory Item Types

Follow these steps to change the item type in QuickBooks:

Step 1: Access Your QuickBooks Account

  1. Log in to your QuickBooks account and open the company file for which you want to change item types.

Step 2: Backup Your Data

  1. Go to “File” from the main menu and select “Create Backup.”
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to create a backup of your company file.

Step 3: Review Financial Statements

  1. Run financial reports to review the impact of the item type changes on your financial statements.

Step 4: Identify Items to Change

  1. Go to the “Lists” menu and select “Item List.”
  2. Locate and select the item you want to change.

Step 5: Edit Item Information

  1. Select “Edit Item” with a right-click on the item.
  2. In the Edit Item window, go to the “Type” field and select the new item type (Service or Inventory Part).
  3. Make necessary adjustments to the item details, such as the account, description, or price.
  4. Click “OK” to save the changes.

Step 6: Update Inventory Information (If Applicable)

  1. If you change a service item to an inventory item, you may need to enter the initial quantity on hand and other inventory details.
  2. Go to the “Company” menu and select “Inventory Activities” > “Adjust Quantity/Value on Hand.”
  3. Enter the necessary information to adjust the inventory quantities.

Step 7: Review and Update Financial Statements

  1. Rerun financial statements to ensure that the changes are reflected accurately.

Step 8: Test Transactions

  1. Create test transactions to ensure that the item type changes do not cause issues in your accounting processes.

Step 9: Communicate Changes

  1. If the item type changes affect other users or departments, communicate the modifications and any necessary training.

Step 10: Monitor for Issues

  1. Monitor your financial records and reports periodically to ensure the changes do not lead to any unforeseen issues.


In conclusion, the ability to change service or inventory item types in QuickBooks is a powerful tool that allows businesses to adapt to the dynamic nature of commerce. This guide has provided a comprehensive overview of the considerations and steps involved in this process, emphasizing the importance of careful planning and thorough evaluation.

Businesses often transform, whether driven by shifts in market demands, expansions into new product lines, or changes in tax regulations. In such scenarios, the flexibility offered by QuickBooks to modify item types becomes instrumental in maintaining accurate financial records. The distinctions between service and inventory items are crucial, reflecting the tangible or intangible nature of what a business provides or sells.

The significance of considering factors such as backing up data, reviewing financial statements, and testing transactions cannot be overstated. These steps safeguard against potential data discrepancies and ensure a seamless transition. Additionally, communicating changes within the organization is vital, ensuring that all relevant stakeholders are aware of and prepared for modifications.

Furthermore, the monitoring phase post-implementation is essential. Businesses should vigilantly observe their financial records and reports to identify any unexpected issues arising from item type changes. This ongoing scrutiny allows for the prompt resolution of discrepancies and contributes to the overall accuracy and reliability of financial data.

QuickBooks provides a robust platform for businesses to align their accounting practices with their operational realities. By understanding the reasons for changing item types and following the outlined steps, businesses can navigate these adjustments effectively, fostering financial transparency and ensuring that their records accurately portray the nature of their transactions. As the business landscape evolves, leveraging the flexibility of accounting software like QuickBooks becomes integral to sustaining financial health and facilitating informed decision-making.